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Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mullen thanks Egyptian military chief of staff for not turning army’s U.S.-funded firepower on demonstrators.

The highest-ranking U.S. military officer praised the “professionalism” of Egypt’s armed forces in a phone call with a top Egyptian commander on Sunday, as Egyptian troops refrained from a crackdown on protesters.

Egypt receives about $1.3 billion a year in U.S. military aid, assistance that could be jeopardized if the army joined last week’s harsh police crackdown. Police used rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons against protesters calling for President Hosni Mubarak to step down.

Protesters who have rocked the nation of 80 million people, a key U.S. ally in the Arab world, complain about surging prices and the gap between rich and poor but have also called for a new political system. The unrest has killed more than 100 people.

Source: Reuters

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